A five-year-old girl riding a 50cc motorbike died when it revved and she panicked, crashing into a paddock fence.
Coroner Carla na Nagara said the death of Sarah MacDonald in Tapawera was sad reminder of how quickly things can go wrong for such young riders of motorbikes.
Sarah died on April 29, 2012 and the coroner has now released her findings that she died from serious neck and spinal injuries.
It was her first ride on the family’s 50cc KTM motorbike, although she had previously ridden another 50cc motorbike and a 50cc quad bike, the coroner’s report said.
Her mother said she could ride the bike, and Sarah got her safety gear including a well fitting helmet.
Her stepfather John took her outside and taught her about the bike.
After practising they went into a paddock and he described how she was ”just cruising and was slowing down on corners” and he was proud that she was not getting carried away.
I think it is commendable to teach farm kids how to ride a bike on private land, before they can legally drive on public land. This happens in almost all farms, and is done well.
But I do have to say that I think five is just too young for a motorised bike of any sort. I don’t know when the right age is, and it probably varies based on the maturity and strength of the child. But certainly well past five I would say.